Only two years after the scarcely believable finish that saw Jackie Stewart clinch his first world title, the 1971 Italian Grand Prix saw an even closer finish as Britain’s Peter Gethin edged Swede Ronnie Peterson by an even slimmer margin of one one-hundredth of a second for his only Grand Prix victory.
It was Peterson who got off to the stronger start, edging past Clay Regazzoni before first Jackie Stewart then Regazzoni again re-took the lead. Following Stewart’s retirement on lap 16 and Regazzoni shortly after, the Surtees of Mike Hailwood and Matra of pole-sitter Chris Amon joined the lead pack of Gethin, Peterson, Francois Cevert and New Zealander Howden Ganley.
Amon dropped back after his visor fell off his helmet, and his engine then began to overheat, but onto the last lap Gethin dragged past Peterson through the long right-hander after the Parabolica and beat him to the flag with Cevert, Hailwood and Ganley less than half a second behind.
The 1971 race was the fastest ever up to that point with an average speed of 150.75 mph.